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Should you monitor beyond permit requirements?

8 July 2015

If you have an environmental permit, you are likely to be required to do some form of monitoring, whether that be on emissions, trade effluent, waste or product.  Any monitoring specified in your permit is legally required, but is there ever a time that you should monitor beyond your permit requirements?  This blog is specifically going to focus on bag leak detection, using Triboelectric monitors.  For monitors of this type, a permit will typically require a suitable system to be installed in the common outlet of your dust collection system.  Properly set up, this will alert you if there is a leak, but how will you know where that leak is?  In large, multi-compartment dust filters, how do you know which filter is having an issue?  Your only option is to isolate compartments, shut down the manufacturing process and search through every compartment until you find the elusive filter, or filters.  Obviously, this is very time consuming, expensive and something you want to avoid if you can.  Monitoring beyond the minimum stated in your permit can reduce, or even eliminate downtime all together.

Monitoring compartment outlets

Monitoring the outlet of each separate compartment requires more sensors and equipment to give you the resolution you need to be able to identify which compartment has a leak or problem.  This level of monitoring can also act as a sensor check for your stack alarms.  If you have only one monitor on your stack and the alarm goes off, this could signal an array of problems that will have to be investigated.  Maybe there is debris down the stack, moisture is getting into the stack or there is a structural or operational issue.  If you have functioning monitors on your stack and on your compartments, and two alarms are going off, it is pretty clear where the problem lies – you have a leak.

Pinpoint a leak down to a specific row in the compartment

Depending on your dust collector, you may be able to identify the row that is leaking within the compartment, giving you even finer resolution and greater benefits.  Using detectors or dust monitors in addition to interfacing with the cleaning system of a compartment, you can achieve true leak detection.  Knowing precisely where there is a problem avoids the need to conduct time intensive black light tests or visibly inspect each compartment for dust.

Benefits

Leaks have to be found, regardless of your legally prescribed level of monitoring.  Continuous monitoring, for example, with a Triboelectric monitor will immediately alert you to a problem, significantly reducing clean-up costs and unauthorised pollution.  Higher resolution monitoring can also drastically reduce downtime, significantly increasing efficiency and reducing costs.  A single compartment can be taken off-line and maintenance scheduled for a scheduled shutdown rather than having to immediately shut down to discover where the leak is.  It also reduces the costs associated with mandatory maintenance intervals for filter replacement in a baghouse as filter bags can be replaced once a problem has been detected.

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